Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Opinion

Ruth: In lonely Tropicana Field, more cowbell, please!

When you are a professional baseball team whose attendance figures are somewhere between a reunion of banana republic food tasters and the Wilson Alvarez Fan Club can you really afford to ban one of your more enthusiastic fans on the grounds of being too enthusiastic for the Boys of Bummer?

Apparently so, which might suggest this is a case of too much cowbell and precious little common sense.

Tampa Bay Rays supporter Jordan Bailey found himself banned for the rest of the season from Tropicana Field after he exercised his right to free screech by excessively clanging his official team cowbell during a game against the Boston Red Sox on May 24.

You read that right. Some Boston Red Sox aficionados, who are among the most boorish, obnoxious dolts to be found anywhere in baseball, complained about Bailey's blaring of the bell. This has to be akin to some yahoos at a WWE wrestling event taking umbrage at the phoniness of it all.

After the Red Sox whiners objected to Bailey's cowbell symphony as the Rays mounted a comeback against the Beantown crybabies, some Tropicana Field carillon patrol told Bailey to tone down his excitement. But when the 32-year-old Rays fan objected, he was escorted to a holding cell by St. Petersburg police officers working overtime as national pastime killjoys.

The bad news is Bailey has now been banned for the rest of the season. The good news is Bailey has now been banned for the rest of the season. And while he sits on his Elba of the diamond, Bailey will have plenty of time to reflect on an inane rule that is even dumber than the designated hitter.

It seems that unbeknownst to vast swaths of Rays customers, the team actually has a cowbell protocol dictating the proper time when attendees are encouraged to be annoying.

Rays officials (who really do have way too much time on their hands) have explained the team presents a message on the Tropicana RaysVision scoreboard prior to games that explains the proper use of a cowbell: When a Rays pitcher has two strikes against a batter and/or when a home team player reaches base or scores a run.

Ahem. By that standard, most Rays games ought to be quieter than vespers at the St. Leo Abbey.

What makes the Rays ham-handed treatment of Bailey more silly is the team's selective double-standard as to what constitutes unacceptable decibel levels at the ol' ballpark, considering the Rays' ceaseless inter-inning cacophony of blaring noise promoting ticket deals or advertisements.

Let us not forget the stumbling drunks in the stands screaming in a language more incomprehensible than a Navajo code-talker.

Yet a paying customer was pronounced unfit to attend future games after venting his support for the team by using an officially sanctioned gee-gaw, emblazoned with the Rays logo no less, readily available for purchase at Tropicana Field?!?! Really?

Memo to Rays management: It's a cockamamie baseball game for crying out loud. The festivities are supposed to be, well, festive.

Memo to Jordan Bailey: Have you thought about becoming a Red Sox fan?

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